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  • Spina
  • Spina, Valle Lepri
  • Spina
  • Italy
  • Emilia-Romagna
  • Provincia di Ferrara
  • Comacchio



  • The Italian Database is the result of a collaboration between:

    MIBAC (Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali - Direzione Generale per i Beni Archeologici),

    ICCD (Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo e la Documentazione) and

    AIAC (Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica).

  • AIAC_logo logo

Summary (English)

  • The University of Zurigo’s excavations in the Etruscan town of Spina took place between 2008 and 2012, after a preparatory phase in 2007, in collaboration with the Archaeological Superintendency of Emilia Romagna.

    While the geophysical survey was taking place, a 10 × 12 m trench was opened in the centre of the site. Here, buildings were uncovered in the south-eastern part, a channel on an east-west alignment and another channel running north-south in the western part of the trench.

    The earliest evidence found thus far dates to the first half of the 4th century. This was a rectangular building about 5 × 10 m with a portico in front. It had an entrance on the long north side, leading onto a space in front, about 2.5 m wide, delimited to the north by the east-west channel. Inside, the building had two central supporting posts. The roof and latticed walls with vertical supporting posts were of perishable materials. It is suggested that this was a dwelling. A substantial amount of waste materials from metalworking were found outside the structure.

    In the subsequent period, a new building was constructed on the same general alignment, but shortened to the west, elongated to the south and turned by 90°. The entrance now opened to the west, where the external space presented traces of divisions and metalworking (?). Inside the structure were the remains of an oven and substantial traces of wooden structures (looms?).

    The building was destroyed by fire, attested by layer US 5 covering the structures. The finds give a date in the third quarter of the 4th century B.C. They included numerous clay acorn-shaped missiles, probably related to a military attack.

    The final phase of Etruscan occupation, datable to around 300 B.C., was attested by the remains of a rectangular structure with walls built on a foundation of cobblestones, a number of channels, oval impressions, several post holes and some very interesting archaeological materials. These comprised several hand-made feet and above all wall fragments of slightly smoothed, very friable and porous red clay that had of been slightly fired. The large number of fragments and the presence of feet suggest this related to so-called briquetage, the process of obtaining salt through boiling. The particularity of the finds, the vicinity to the medieval saltpans of Commacchio and the late antique sources for the salt trade in the upper Adriatic, suggest that these are the remains of briquetage structures used for the commercial production of salt by boiling seawater. This is the first example of historic date excavated in Italy. Following this early Hellenistic phase, that did not present clear evidence of destruction or fire but rather seems to have been abandoned, there was a clean break in occupation and only a few unsubstantial later layers were found, perhaps relating to small channels.

  • Christoph Reusser - Istituto di Archeologia dell'Università di Zurigo 


  • Christoph Reusser - Istituto di Archeologia dell'Università di Zurigo


  • Luca Cappuccini - Università degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Antichità, Medioevo, Rinascimento e Linguistica
  • Studenti ed dottorandi dell'Università di Zurigo e di Firenze
  • Martin Mohr - Istituto di Archeologia dell'Università di Zurigo

Research Body

  • Istituto di Archeologia, Università di Zurigo (Svizzera)

Funding Body

  • Fondazione Fritz Thyssen
  • Università di Zurigo(Svizzera)


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